Out of nowhere, it happened.
Jazz CEO Greg Miller and Hall of Fame forward Karl Malone met late Monday inside EnergySolutions Arena, talked for about an hour and 15 minutes, then emerged from their private session to meet the media.
Once their closed-door conference was over, there was only more silence.
“We talked, and it’s between me and Greg,” Malone said.
Miller declined comment.
The impromptu meeting came 17 days after Miller attacked Malone on Feb. 3 in a lengthy blog post, standing up for the Jazz organization after Malone asserted Miller and general manager Kevin O’Connor had undermined former coach Jerry Sloan, who resigned Feb. 10, 2011.
NBA commissioner David Stern told The Salt Lake Tribune on Feb. 6 he wanted Malone and Miller to meet and calmly settle their differences.
Malone’s appearance Monday at the Spurs-Jazz game was unplanned and not coordinated by the franchise. He was joined by his son, Karl Malone Jr.
The elder Malone was first noticed by the media when he walked into the press room before tipoff. Laughing and joking while interacting with fans, he initially declined comment.
Malone then sat in a first-row baseline seat directly beneath the Jazz’s home basket, watching almost all of Utah’s 106-102 loss to the Spurs and signing autographs for fans. At the same time, Miller sat in his normal center-court seat, within clear eyesight of the ex-Utah forward who teamed with guard John Stockton to take the small-market franchise to two NBA Finals.
After the game, Miller approached Malone and the duo spoke for about five seconds before the Jazz CEO walked away.
Asked whether he planned to soon meet with Malone, Miller told The Tribune, “We’re not going to talk about that.”
Miller and Malone then retreated to Utah’s coaches offices for their private meeting, with O’Connor walking in and out of the session.
Before entering the meeting, a steel-faced Malone revealed little.
“I’ll talk when I’m ready to talk,” he said.
Then the doors were closed.
Tony Jones contributed reporting.